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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Mar 2, 2014 9:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: THE Dark Star

some years back i put together a couple of hours worth of dark stars from late '68 and early '69 (including all 4 from the Fillmore West run) for listening when riding my bike around town, and after numerous repeated listens to the seven or eight dark stars i included in the comp, and after having digested each one, subconsciously categorizing them all in my head, subconsciously picking out all the uniquenesses and the passages of beauty, that which stirred me on a level beyond just the auditory one, i eventually found myself listening to the one dark star, keeping it on repeat, and that dark star was 2/28/69; in other words, at gut level, absent any silly academic comparisons, just me and the bike and the road and the city and my thoughts, 2/28 shined brighter than the other stars, although maybe not by any huge degree (this is after all 68/69 GD, peak years)

having said that, i will concede that 2/27 is nearly equally brilliant, and in fact, i actually enjoy the start to 2/27 more so than 2/28, but as a whole, i give 2/28 the nod

i listen to the GD so seldom these days, but i will throw on a dark star fairly regularly, because for me the 'song' is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, compositions in the canon that is pop or rock or psychedelic or acid or garage or punk, or whatever you want to label music of a time and place; when we think of the '60s, and the music or songs that identify what defines the '60s--whether we lived it at the time, or 'lived' it in retrospect in the aftermath because we were too young (or unborn), after discovering in the histories and the stories and the myths of that unique and so brief era something that we felt a kinship with--we tend to pick something that verbally and lyrically captures the era, something big and broadcasted everywhere, something that has mass- and marketing-appeal, e.g., Dylan, Airplane, Doors, CCR, the whole i-get-by-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends '60s anthem type music

that's certainly true and nothing wrong with that; and while DS was born out of the '60s, and can evoke that time by nature of being part and parcel of the GD in that era, it isn't tied to or limited by its origins, because Dark Star is the anti-anthem, it doesn't define or champion anything, it just is, then, now, and for all time; i almost can't even anymore think of it as a Grateful Dead composition, even while at the same time being so intrinsically tied to that band and that era

in 2000 years, eons after the last human has gasped a breath, if some cosmic being were to take hold of the planet and squeeze out the history of humanity's brief reign so as to arrive at the essence of what was 'human existence', absent the bullshit and greed and butchery and silliness and pettiness, and all that decoration and costume and crap, to condense it into some digestible musical form that could speak across the cosmos and time, Dark Star 2/28/69 would be the sound that would emerge

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 2, 2014 11:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: THE Dark Star

Hey Arb, w your detailed accounting (love it; just what I did for about six months w 6-14-68 one spring at the gym; I literally listened to at least 20 min worth of that show every time, ie, 3-5 days a week for weeks!), I am curious of where you place my fav, 9-19-70?

The reason I ask is that it has a lively mid-section, 12-20 min, post a first verse lull (6-11 min mark), and v nice verse I & II sections (first 6 min; last 4 min; pardon my absurdly simplified classification scheme for subdividing the tune), but the BIG pt? It is the ONE that I can play for nonHEADs and get a positive reaction...

It's the one I've tried out on a larger number of folks than any other tune period, since the late 1970s (recall as a kid I did this crap all the time, I was obsessed w sharing my obsession, convincing all the Who, PF & LeadZ freaks that the DEAD were better). Since 2005, I have gotten many more positive responses, and from folks that were with me in the 70s (old HS/College friends), it is the "oh...wow...I think this is the first DS I don't mind..." kind of comment that impresses me most.

Would have to expose them all to many more versions, but you get the idea; it suggests there's something in that style of DS that they go for (the up tempo jam sequences, duh, but...maybe more?).

Just by way of FWIW, etc.

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Mar 2, 2014 1:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: THE Dark Star

i do admit to loving the 9/19/70 version, in fact, i listened to it shortly after reading your post, and remembered all over again why it is such a great version of dark star ... maybe i'll get the bug again and do a comp. of '70/'71 stars

i can't explain why i gravitate toward the 2/28 version so much, i don't even have a reason, it just kind of rose to the top over the years, although there are versions which have some seriously beautiful passages, even rivalling what i hear in 2/28; case in point is the 2/18/71 Cap. Theatre, the 2nd half after the wharf rat, but overall, hmm

or maybe, that just proves the exceeding greatness of dark star, its chameleon-like ability, its ability to change and morph into so many forms, depending on the listener, the time, the environment, etc.

the last time i played the GD for anyone other than family was a co-worker about 8 years ago, because i kept enthusing about 2/14/68, how could anyone not consider it some of the greatest music ever performed, blah blah blah; he listened and went back to his black sabbath; oh well, hence the eventual apocalypse

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Mar 2, 2014 2:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: THE Dark Star

Live Sabbath is pretty wonderful stuff.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Mar 2, 2014 10:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: THE Dark Star

2/28 is darker than 2/27. I think the couple minutes immediately following the first verse is the most stirring, unsettling, gorgeous improvised playing ever recorded.